Republican Senate nominee John Warner sought once again here yesterday to make himself clear on the question of facial changes in the U.S. Navy during his years as that service's civillian secretary.
Warner, who last Thursday told an interviewer he had slowed efforts to integrate the Navy, and later said he had misunderstood the reporter's question, yesterday said that what he really was talking about was affirmative action programs.
"Integration is the opposite of segregation and certainly there was no segregation in the armed forces in 1969," the former Navy secretary said.
"Affirmative action is ongoing - a very important ongoing program for helping those from less fortunate circumstances . . . have opportunities for advancement.
"I felt we should take what I considered a moderated approach to working on affirmative action programs . . . programs . . .
"I felt the pace should be moderate to enable the department to fulfill the promises we had held forth."
Warner answered reporters' questions on the subject at a news conference called yesterday by "Virginians for Warner," which bills itself as an organization of conservative independents backing the Republican in his race for the U.S. Senate.
The organization, headed by former Democratic Del. D. French Slaughter of Culpepper, includes such signalmakers to Virginia's political right as Tom Byrd of Winchester, son of U.S. Senator Harry F. Byrd, Jr., (I.Va.), former Democratic Del W. Roy Smith of Petersburg, Independent Del. Eva Scott, of Church Road, and former Virginia Agricultural Commissioner Parke C. Brinkley of South Hill.
Among the more than more than 150 Virginians listed as supporters of the group ar former Democratic Lt. Gov. Fred G. Pollard of Richmond, former Third District Democratic Chairman J. Clifford Miller of Richmond and former Richmond Vice Mayor William V. Daniel.
Also included in the list were such individuals as F. Hunter Creech of Yorktown, E. Y. Wimbish of Nathalie, H. H. Frazier of Altavista, and B. B. Vincent of Skippers, whose potential impact on the election could not immediately be determined.
Warner also voiced his approval "as an American" for the apparent progress of the Mideast peace talks of Camp David, and said he wouldn't stop his efforts to link Miller with President Carter even if Carter appears a political beneficiary of the Mideast talks.
"I think there is a connection of long-standing between my opponent and Jimmy Carter," Warner said, "and I will not in any way vary from what I have done this far . . ."
Warner said Miller had "started with" former Del. George Rawlings, Jr. and former Chief of Naval Operations Elmo Zumwalt - Democrats who challenged Sen. Byrd in 1970 and 1976 respectively - and former Lt. Gov. Henry Howell and Jimmy Carter.
"Those are the political leaders with whom he shares a common philosophy," Warner said, "and I will continue to bring that up."
Asked if he thought it would be just as fair to link him to former President Richard M. Nixon, who appointed Warner to be Secretary of the Navy, Warner said, "I think it's fair. I was a member of his administration."